Somen's set to make $11 million through AccessKenya sale

Monday May 6 2013

AccessKenya directors, Mr Jonathan Somen (right) and Mr David Somen. Photo/FILE

AccessKenya directors, Jonathan Somen (right) and David Somen. Photo/File Nation Media Group

By David Mugwe

The Somen family, could make Ksh924.7 million ($11 million) through the sale of AccessKenya to South Africa’s Dimension Data Plc.

The internet service provider on Monday said that it has received a proposal from the South Africa based firm for Ksh3.05 billion ($36.4 million) ending months of speculation that the company was up for sale.

AccessKenya, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), after the close of trading on Monday, requested regulators to allow for the suspension of trading of its shares following the disclosure.

“The directors of AccessKenya Group Limited were on May 6, served by Dimensions Data Holdings Plc with a notice of intention of takeover, showing the offerer’s intention to acquire all the issued shares of the company,” said AccessKenya in a statement to shareholders.

Over the past two years, speculation in the market has been rife that the internet service provider would be taken over but Monday’s disclosure was not expected.

According to AccessKenya’s latest annual report, Jonathan Somen, the internet service provider’s chief executive officer was the largest single shareholder with a 17 per cent stake of 37 million shares as at the end of December last year.

His brother and co-founder, David Somen, a director at the internet service provider had a 7.3 per cent stake or 15.9 million shares while Michael Lewis Somen had a 6 per cent stake or 13.1 million shares as at the end of last year.

Jonathan Somen in March told The Business Daily, our sister paper that if someone came along with a serious and sensible offer, they have the responsibility to all the shareholders to consider it adding that they felt that the current share price is not reflective of the performance of the business.

The internet service provider said that Dimension Data Plc has proposed to buy AccessKenya for Ksh14 ($0.17 or R1.50) per share which is a premium of 42 per cent when compared to the closing price on May 3 at the NSE of Ksh9.85 ($0.12).

As at the close of last year, the internet service provider had 218 million shares meaning that Dimension Data Plc has valued the entire business at Ksh3.05 billion ($36.4 million).

The three directors, who held a combined 30.3 per cent stake or 66.05 million shares could therefore make Ksh924.7 million ($11 million) if they decided to sell the company at Ksh14 ($0.17 or R1.50) per share.

As at the close of trading on Monday, AccessKenya shares closed at Ksh9.55 ($0.11) and have rallied 117.05 per cent since the beginning of the year.

The internet service provider’s shares, which were listed on the NSE in June 2007 at Ksh10 ($0.15), have been the best performing at the Nairobi bourse this year having closed at Ksh4.40 ($0.05) on the last trading day of December in 2012.

“The Directors of the company (AccessKenya) in the interest of the shareholders of the company have requested the Capital Markets Authority and the NSE to immediately suspend the trading of the company’s shares until such a time as the offer is successful, withdrawn or rejected by the requisite number of the company’s shareholders,” said AccessKenya in the statement.

The internet service provider owns and operates a 400 kilometre carrier ethernet fibre optic network in both Nairobi and Mombasa which connects over 500 commercial buildings.

It also operates two wireless networks which further extends coverage to 10 other towns around Kenya.

The company’s profit after tax rose by 38.77 per cent to Ksh151.3 million ($1.7 million) for the period ended December 2012 from Ksh109 million ($1.2 million) for the period ended December 2011.